By PAUL GOTHAM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Eight minutes into Saturday afternoon’s contest, Mark Schmidt‘s St. Bonaventure Bonnies had committed more turnovers (7) than they had made field goals (3). Twelve minutes later, the Bonnies took a six-point lead into the locker room on their way to a 20-point victory over the Fordham Rams. The difference came down to basic basketball.
“It’s hard to simulate in practice how fast it is,” Schmidt said of Fordham’s defense. “They’re not a pressing team; they’re a half-court trapping team. You can say this is what’s going to happen, but the scout team is doing it at 50 miles an hour; they’re (Fordham) doing it a hundred miles an hour. You have to get used to the speed of it. Once we did that, figured out what they were doing, got comfortable with the speed, the game slowed down a little bit for the guys. Then we were able to make some plays.”
Trailing by seven, the Bonnies produced points on 20 of their next 25 possessions and never looked back.
“I thought we did a really good job attacking it from that point on,” Schmidt noted. “That was the key because that’s what they were going to do the whole game. If we weren’t going to deal with it well, we weren’t going to be successful.”
Attacking on offense was a simple as getting to the basket.
“Against them once you get it out of the initial trap, now they’re in a scramble,” Schmidt explained. “In essence it’s four against three. That pass out of the trap that next decision you make has to be a good one, and that next decision we wanted to attack. Attack, drive and kick or attack the rim. That’s what we tried to do. We weren’t successful all the time, but that was like coaching 101. When [you’ve got numbers], you don’t want to settle for a jump shot. You want to attack, and that’s what we tried to do.”
The approach resulted in the Bonnies finishing 26 of 29 from the free throw line dwarfing Fordham’s six of nine effort from the stripe.
“They got the ball to the rim out of those double teams,” Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer stated. “People have gotten the ball out of the traps but they have gotten the ball to the rim to score. Today Bona did.”
Josh Ayeni converted a three-point play to give Bona its first lead of the game at 16-15. The freshman converted two more charity tosses for a 23-22 SBU edge. The Bonnies never trailed again.
“In practice at times you can have six guys out there and there’s still not even close to what it was like out there during the game,” Mobley said. “First couple minutes we struggled a little bit, but once we settled down and realized where our spots were going to be we executed toward the end.”
Ayeni hit 12 of 13 from the charity line and finished with a career-high 16 points.
Bona came into the game handing out assists on 48.1 percent of made field goals. Saturday, the Brown and White dished out 15 helpers on 21 field goals (71.4 percent).
Fordham hit three threes in the early going, and it looked like Bonnies (ranked 13th in the A-10 allowing 39.4 percent from long range) might succumb again to the deep ball. Bona limited Fordham to four triples over the remaining 32 minutes, and the Rams finished 7 of 22 (31.8 percent) behind the arc. Dayton hit 14 of 23 from long range in the Flyers 90-74 victory over SBU on January 3rd. Canisius finished 15 of 38 behind the arc in 106-101 win over Bona on December 22nd.
Nelson Kaputo handed out a game-high six assists.
Bona (11-6/3-2) travels to play Saint Louis (5-12/1-4) on Tuesday.